Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My May flowers, ready or not!

It is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day again, and just for fun I checked what I wrote last year on this day: “Here in London we have experienced the strangest spring ever, with a relatively warm winter, a dash of high summer for a few days in March and then over 5 weeks of rain and persistently cold weather with very low night temperatures. My garden has never been as late as it is this year.” As all of us living in Britain know, the rain just continued and I thought it couldn’t get any worse than what we had last year. Ha! I remember that whiff of summer we had in March last year, it was lovely, that was the summer we got last year. Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day means lots of photos and an extra long post here on my blog, so get yourself a cup of your favourite brew and park yourself somewhere comfortable, you might be here for a while :-) - and as always, please click on the photos for a larger version, it really is worth it.

This year we have had a very long, cold winter, an extremely cold spring and although we had almost a week of lovely weather in late April here in London, it is now back to cold, windy and with rain at times. 12 degrees C at daytime and 6 at night has been pretty average but the last month we have had everything from frost at night and hail during the day to 23 degrees and really nice. This is spring in Britain, no two days are the same and notoriously difficult to forecast. My garden is about 6 weeks later than a normal year, some plants as much as 8 weeks, and it is even later than last year – I would not have thought that was possible when I was waiting for my roses last May...It is middle of May and I still have daffodils in flower!

Depressing temperatures, especially combined with the bone chilling wind we have had the last week or so.


Let me take you on a trip around the garden and show you what I have in flower this mid May. Let’s start at the bottom of the garden in my woodland area, at first sight not very colourful, but there are flowers here, if you know where to look. This area was something I developed when I redesigned the garden in 2011, and it is by no means a finished article (when is a garden ever finished?!), but I intend to add to it as I am able to afford more plants. I am also not sure if I like the idea of ‘succession planting’ here, a constant stream of plants, one type taking over before the previous one has died down. It looks great at certain points, but at other points, like right now, I just have heaps and heaps of dying leaves to deal with. As most of these plants are bulbous I can’t just chop the leaves off, not if I want the plants to come up next year – so I just have to endure all the dying leaves everywhere. Not sure how to get around that, the alternative is evergreen plants that flower for a short time and looks green all year round, or perennials that lose their leaves in the winter, or herbaceous plants that die down in the autumn. They all have pros and cons :-)

This is a lovely semi-evergreen plant called Disporopsis pernyi. Imagine an evergreen Solomon's seal with glossy, dark green foliage - that's what you've got in this little known, tough-as-nails plant. Not a real Solomon’s Seal but a beautiful look-a-like! So easy to grow and trouble free. The arching stems have lots of bell shaped flowers in the spring and black berries in the autumn. The slowly developing clump (2' wide in 10 years) makes a superb show in the woodland garden. Prefers moist soil in part shade. Cut back old foliage in February to make way for new spring growth.

Disporopsis pernyi. It is a bit too early to see the flowers properly, in a week or two the flowers will have opened completely, but you’ll get an impression here at least.


I have lots and lots of Lily of the Valley in my garden, they have just started to open the first flowers.


Convallaria majalis , Lily of the Valley. Again, It is a bit too early to see the flowers properly, in a week or two the flowers will have opened completely.


My cyclamens are still flowering, the cold days and nights keep them going on as if it was March and not May.


More cyclamens.


This is Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver', an evergreen ground cover, but it usually starts to flower in early April. It has just started to flower now, and I guess you know what I am about to say, yep, in a week or two it will look much better, with lots of flowers all over :-)


Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver'


Here is my other Lamium, Lamium galeobdolon 'Hermann's Pride', a lovely plant that doesn’t invade other plant’s space.


It has started to flower, but will get lots more over the next couple of weeks.


And if you really get down to the bottom of the woodland floor, these little curious beauties are sticking up everywhere. They are Arisaema amurense, also called cobra lily or jack-in-the-pulpit. I started out with one single plant in 2004 and now there must be nearly 100 of them. They take 6-8 years to reach a stage where they produce this incredible flower, so many of those tiny plants I have are still just a single leaf. Give them time they will all produce flowers, and all the flowers produce berries which give new plants. I have started to lift some of the smaller plants and move to other areas as I think they are quite amazing plants.

Arisaema amurense. The flower hasn’t quite opened up completely, they look more spectacular when the spathe in the middle is sticking out. OK, familiar theme now, come back in a couple of weeks!


Here are also some beauties from the woodland floor, if you missed my previous post, these are Arisarum  proboscideum or 'Mouse Plant'.


If we move a bit further along the bottom of my garden, you’ll get to my hellebores, all still in flower but not exactly pretty anymore. I will soon snip off all flowers and just leave one seed producing flower on each plant. Right behind the hellebores, in the centre of the picture is my Rhododendron Christmas Cheer which I bought early last year. It came in bud, but most of the buds fell off and I had just a few flowers. Since then it has more than doubled in size and I was looking forward to seeing it in flower this spring. Unfortunately that will not happen, this new rhododendron has spent all year putting down roots instead of producing buds for flowers, naughty plant, but not uncommon for rhododendrons. I have given it a handful of slow release ericaceous fertiliser and hope for lots of flowers next year. Patience, patience. So, just one flowering plant to show off here really, can you see it among all the green?

Dicentra spectabilis 'Valentine'  a beautiful bright red variety of Dicentra. They often come in all shades of pink, plus white, but I think this red one is rather special.


Dicentra spectabilis 'Valentine' – a row of red hearts on a branch :-)


On the margins of my woodland area is this tiny rose bush. It is one of my David Austin roses, called 'Wildeve' and it was planted early last spring. It was beautiful last summer, and had lots of big roses, it grew to about 1.5m tall by end of July. Unfortunately, when I dislocated my hip right here in the garden on the 6th August last year, this rose bush was one of the casualties. The ambulance crew had to cut down this rose to the ground in order to get me out. I guess roses don’t take very well to be cut levelled with the ground, it did have some growth last autumn, but it was a very thin and spindly twig. I have just left it to it, there is still just one, thin twig, but at least it is a bit taller now, almost a foot tall :-) I haven’t recovered very well after my dislocation, but I hope the rose will recover better, it was a beautiful rose.

Next to the rose is another casualty of my hip dislocation, my beautiful Acer palmatum 'Garnet'. The ambulance crew had to break off half of this bush to get me out, I think if I had been aware of what they were planning to do a bit earlier I would probably have stopped them, but at that point the garden could most likely have melted around me without me noticing or even being bothered. It was only when I came home from the hospital 5 days later and had my first trip out in the garden I saw what had been done. OK, not blaming anyone at all, the ambulance crew were very nice people, all 4 of them and they got me out eventually, I don’t expect them to take people’s gardens in to consideration too. But I did get upset for a while every time I went out and saw the Acer. I was therefore very pleased when the new leaves came out a few weeks ago and I realised that many of the bare branches now have new leaves sprouting. I no longer have half an Acer, I have a much fuller, rounder Acer. It doesn’t look so strange anymore. OK, so it does look a bit funny still, but not as funny as it did, honestly!

Let’s move upwards a bit, passing swiftly all the dying tulips and the acanthus barely out of the ground. Too late and too early...and ending up here, this is an area for development this year. The pots are my attempt to buy plug plants last September. I won’t do it again. Ever. The plugs were so tiny you could barely see them. I potted them on in 9cm pots, even though it said they were ready to go in the ground. Ha! I also bought some primrose plug plants at the same time, all of them were potted on but some of them went in the ground after 3-4 weeks. Big mistake. Some of those still haven’t flowered! These pansies have been in these big pots since January or so, and they started flowering first week of May. They were meant to be my bedding plants for the winter! No more tiny plug plants for me in the autumn, thank you very much.

But now that they finally flower, they look quite OK. They are called Can-Can, advertised as frilly pansies, but I don’t think they are at all as frilly or as mixed colours as in the photos on the website where I bought them. They weren’t expensive, but a lot of work for very little. An experiment not to be repeated.


Behind the pots of pansies is one of my oldest plants, a Viburnum 'Eskimo' . It is 10 years old this summer, and considering its age it should be a formidable bush of about 1.8-2m tall and wide. Go back 2 photos and see what it looks like and you might see why this bush is destined for the compost bin this year. It has never grown any bigger than this and I don’t think the 8-10 beautiful flowers every spring is enough anymore to keep the plant. Out with the old, in with the new. Do you notice the sea of pink in the background? It is camellia petals!

My camellia is in full flower, and I am just letting all the petals fall to the ground. There are too many Lily of the Valley under the camellia for me to go around scooping up petals. Because of all the cold nights we have had, there are a lot of frost damage to my camellia, an unfortunate feature whatever time it flowers, when the night temperature creeps down towards zero, the flowers that have opened gets brown edges. But the cold temperatures, both night and day probably means it will flower for another good few weeks. I have never had a camellia in flower in June before!

My camellia have flowers of different shades of pink.


Let’s head over to the other side of the path, it was still some sunshine when I was taking pictures here. This is my lovely Chaenomeles superba 'Crimson and Gold', it has been in flower since January!!


The big question before making this post was: would I get any roses in time? I am afraid I didn’t. It really has been a weird spring. Normally my first roses open in early April. This is as close as I get to my Crimson Cascade, usually my first rose to flower.


And this is my trusty pot rose, not long to go, but still, not an open rose for GBBD. In a couple of weeks there will be some.


This was meant to be my sea of alliums and irises for today, instead I have still many daffodils left, only two irises out and none of the alliums properly opened – although many of them are just days away from popping up. Yeah, a week or two would have done wonders here too!


But the two irises I do have look quite sweet, don’t they?


I bought a bag of 30 mixed Dutch iris last year, I can’t wait to see what the colour is on the rest of them.


Some of the daffodils have just opened up. I think I will have daffodils well into June this year. Weird!


This is the first allium to open, not really there yet but isn’t the colours fantastic?


All the alliums, irises and daffodils are in the right hand bed at the top of the garden, and when they are finished flowering there is a wealth of other plants already growing through their leaves. I have crocosmias, Paeonies, three different Hemerocallis and lots of oriental lilies, just waiting for their turn to shine. Next to them is the area with all my pots. There are so many pots now that I wonder if I have just too many, if I need to take some of the plants and find a space for them in the beds. Anyway, do you remember the magnolias I bought? The tall one has now got all the buds opened, and it turns out that none of them were flower buds, just leaves. So I have to wait a whole year to see and smell the flowers. The small magnolia has still not open up all the buds, but they are all just leaves so I am not expecting anything else there. In a few years time they will both be great assets in this patio area, when they get a bit bigger.

And the last plant to be presented here is the second of my Dicentras, Dicentra  formosa 'Bacchanal' . It is magenta coloured, a colour my camera has a bit difficulty picking up with the sun shining through the flowers. It is a lovely plant, with leaves a bit different than the spectabilis. I have this one just in a container, it doesn’t grow very big.

Dicentra  formosa 'Bacchanal'


Before I end this post I would like to talk about a website I have joined. I don’t often endorse websites on my blog, or even provide links in my posts, but this time I think it is something many people here will appreciate to hear about. First of all, my apologies to all my readers from outside UK, this website is for people in the UK only, but read on, you might have something similar where you live, and if you haven’t, maybe you can pick up some ideas and be the one starting this in your area, who knows!

The website, called Green Plant Swap, is a place for selling and swapping your plants. You can be a private gardener with just one plant to swap or sell, or a semi professional gardener with hundreds of plants to sell or swap, or a nursery with thousands of plants to sell. You make your own ‘grower’ page, a profile of yourself and with a description of your garden. Then you add the plants you would like to sell/swap with photos if you have. For anyone used to writing a blog this is easy-peasy stuff. The website has just started up so at the moment there isn’t that many members, that’s why I wanted to write about it here and hope you can do the same when you have discovered their potential. For this to work there need to be lots of members, it’s no good if you find your favourite plant with someone willing to swap, if the grower lives 150 miles away from you. So come on, sign up, list your stuff for sale/swap and then make sure to tell all your friends about it so we can become many members. It is totally free and you can list as many plants as you want, here is the SIGN UP PAGE.

And here is my own 'GROWER PAGE’, click on ‘View all listings’ at bottom right to see all the plants I have for sale/swap. When you sign up you fill in your postcode (or your full address, that’s up to you), and when you click the button for Swap & Buy Plants, the site will find growers near you. I have visited quite a few other, similar sell/swap website over the last few years, but none of them took my interest – they had either very poorly design and qirky navigation, or a lot of stuff not relevant or, as with most of them, designed as a forum where pictures of the plants for sale/swap was a rarity. Because this one is different I immediately found it interesting, perhaps you will too? So, what are you waiting for, not only can you get some new gardening friends, you might even earn a few quid on those plants you haven’t got room for yourself, or swap them with something you always have wanted but couldn’t really afford or get hold of.

OK, this became a seriously long post, especially on a day when I didn’t really have much in flower! But as it is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, let’s say thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden who is hosting this meme, why don’t you head over to her place and see what’s flowering in other people’s gardens around the world this mid May. Until next time, take care.

75 comments:

  1. Your garden is looking lovely as ever Helene! I am very intrigued by that disporopsis. It looks very similar to Solomon's Seal - that's what I would have guessed if you hadn't told me. I've still got some holes in my shade garden so will have to seek that one out - hope I can find one here.

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    1. Thanks, yes the Disporopsis pernyi has turned out to be a gem, the aphids don’t like it, neither does the slugs and not much else – apart from vine weevils, but I am taking action against them now! And I have started to dig up small sections of the plant and potted on, it has become so big over the years, it was very easy, just dig up, break apart and re-pot. A great plant if you have an empty space :-)

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  2. That was a long post, i can't keep up with the words so i just lingered on the photos. Regardless, i guess what they said about global warming is true "that temperate countries will have longer winters or colder temps and warm climates will have longer dry seasons or hotter temps", and that goes well with our countries as best representatives. OMG! What's happening to our world.

    But i love plants not available in our climate, and when i see those pansies, my eyes really stayed on them. And that mouse plants, oh how interesting!

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    1. I am not sure if the expert have decided what global warming is supposed to do with the climate in my part of the world. For a long time we were to get warmer winters and wetter summers – which we did. But now we have colder winters and colder summers so it doesn’t really follow what we have been told. I am no expert so I don’t know...

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  3. My, what a lovely display for spring. Your garden is full of so much beauty. I do remember the strange weather last year, and although this has been a cooler spring, I am very glad it has been a slow emergence so I can enjoy it all the more. That disporopsis is very much like Solomon's Seal...amazing.

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    1. We still have ‘unusual’ weather, might have to stop calling it unusual and just accept that nothing is like it was before!
      I have actually never seen a Solomon’s Seal in real, just on photos, but I can see the resemblance, I like the fact that mine is evergreen.

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  4. You have so many lovely blooms in your garden Helene. The camellias and vibernum are my favorites and love the pansies too! Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Lee, my camellia is one of my favourites too, a grand old lady that was here when I moved in, I don’t know its age, it might be as old as the gardens around here, which were made in the late 1950s.
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  5. So many beautiful plants!
    I still cannot figure out how you get so many wonderful plants into the relatively small space that you have!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks Lea, I stack my plants like sardines! And in many spaces where there are bulbs or herbaceous plants, something else is growing there at a different time of the year too so the ground is never bare.
      Happy GBBD!

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  6. Helene as ever your garden is so beautiful and such a joy and a pleasure .

    What a shame you dislocated your hip it must have been so painful hope you are now fully recovered.

    And your plants shall recover.

    Happy GBBD

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    1. Thanks, my hip is still quite unstable, but I am getting a hip brace now, hopefully that will help with the pain and prevent further dislocations. I still have to be careful not to dislocate again. My plants are doing better :-)
      Happy GBBD!

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  7. Helene,

    Your garden is definitely ahead of mine. So many wonderful flowers, especially the Lily of the Valley and Cyclamens.

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    1. Thanks Donna, I like Lily of the Valley too, it’s getting a bit invasive in my garden now, after nearly 10 years, I have started to pull it up here and there, but I would not get rid of it, lovely at this time of year!

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  8. Helene, what a fine collection of plants, like you, our roses are way behind this year, not a bad thing here in Somerset as we may have missed the dreaded black spot.

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    1. Oh, I wish I could have missed the black spot – not so lucky, it started popping up here, I have sprayed already. Black spot have been a huge problem the last 5 years or so, I am determined to spray often enough to have leaves left in the autumn this year.

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  9. It's nothing short of amazing, all the wonderful plants that you incorporate into your space. I lost all my cyclamen purpureums to rot after having success for several years. Your camelia is lovely indeed! Larry

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    1. Thanks Larry, my camellia is the ‘Grand Dame’ in my garden and yes she is lovely. I have lost cyclamens to rot too, but I let all my cyclamens seed some of their last flowers so I always have some new generations on the way.

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  10. I love all the flowers in your garden particularly the frilly pansies and gory-red bleeding hearts. You must have pampered them with lots of TLC for them to be this lovely and lush.

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    1. Most of my plants get a dose of slow release fertilizer once a year, that’s it. My garden is far from a pampered place, I have selected plants that can manage for long periods without my attention, whenever I am not well enough to be out there and take care of everything. If a plant is too fuzzy or demanding and doesn’t thrive, it won’t stay in my garden for too long – not the right plant for my garden :-)

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  11. Helene, you have one of my favorite gardens of all time. I can imagine the Lily of the Valley is perfuming the air this spring. It's one of my earliest plant memories from my childhood.

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    1. Thanks Mario, it is actually one of the first plants I learned the name of too, it was my grandmother’s favourite plant.

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  12. Hi Helene
    8 weeks difference! That's a lot. But don't worry - your roses will bloom soon. They look almost ready. You may feel there's not much colour in the borders, but when you break it down into individual areas and pots, it certainly is very colourful. Beautiful garden. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Astrid, yes, the dark red rose I showed a photo of is almost ready to pop, but unfortunately the rest is far from it. That one is a small cutting growing in a pot, that’s why it has a bud, the mother plant has only tiny green buds and is weeks away from any flowers yet. And the pink pot rose has only got that one bud, none other in sight yet. Nope, I think I will be well into June before I have any amount of roses. Getting there eventually, but it is really strange how late it is!
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  13. Nice spring flowers! Helene, your camellia is a beauty, so delicate and pretty. Irises, bleeding hearts-- all I'm waiting for them here too.
    Have a nice day!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, ‘waiting’ is the keyword here too! I have plants not yet out of the ground, still waiting to see if my dahlias have survived the winter, although I saw some tiny green leaves the other day so they might be on their way :-)
      Have a nice day you too!

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  14. We do have many of the same plants even ones I did not show like the Beacon Silver. I would have been mortified had I lost half a Japanese Maple, but plants are pretty resilient and do come back often. I hope you do too. It is hard being in pain like that. Your garden really when full steam into Spring. Lovely garden tour.

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    1. Thanks, it is a tiny garden but today’s tour became rather long, glad you enjoyed it :-)
      It feels somehow easier to lose a herbaceous plant that will come back just as nice the next year, compared to a woody plant like an Acer, which I have taken care of for almost 10 years and which will take many years to recover. Yes, I must admit I was mortified too, but I am so happy that it looks much better this year. If the rose doesn’t recover this summer I will dig it up and put it in a pot in a sunnier position, that might help.

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  15. Your little garden is so productive, Helene! I can't believe the variety and the lushness of it all! Thanks for focusing on the Disporopsis pernyi. I didn't know much about it until I read your post. And you have Roses blooming! Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Beth, no roses in bloom just yet, but soon I hope!
      Disporopsis pernyi is a lovely plant, I am planning to dig up my huge clump this year, after it has finished flowering and then split it in 3-4 clumps. It is getting so big and I would rather have some dotted around than one big clump.
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  16. Hi Helene,

    Just found you through GBBD. You have some absolutely gorgeous plants in your garden! I'm interested in the woodland plants too, as it is a woodland garden that I am trying to develop. I love Arisaema. And how wonderful that they go on to seed themselves. You would need a bit of a carpet of these, perhaps, to get a good display. I like the mouse plant too!

    Jessica

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    1. Thanks Jessica, what I have done in my woodland corner is to plant many different things that come up and flower at different times, rather than have a carpet of just one thing. So I have small groups of crocus, anemones, arisaemas, mouse plants, primroses, Lily of the Valley and cyclamens which all are low growing, and on the margins around this area I have ferns, hellebores, sarcococcas, dicentras, rhododendron, azalea, acer, skimmias, astilbes and hardy geraniums.
      The effect is that there is always something flowering, and no area is ever empty. If I get a small empty area I just pop in a pot of something, I have loads of pots waiting in the wings :-)
      You might be interested in seeing my post from GBBD last April, I made a video of my woodland corner, you can find it here:
      http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/april-bloomers.html

      Good luck with your woodland garden!

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    2. I just watched this.. absolutely beautiful :)

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  17. You garden has so many beautiful flowers now. I really enjoyed seeing them all and reading your post. I hope your hip improves--never give up! Thank you and happy GBBD.

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    1. Thank you, no giving up is not an option, I need my daily fix off gardening or I get withdrawal symptoms!

      Happy GBBD to you too :-)

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  18. It looks beautiful! It's funny, we had the cold, wet Spring last year. I was complaining that November had called and wanted its weather back!! Whereas this year it's been SO weirdly hot! In the 80's in April! In the northwest corner of the US! Bizarre! If I could send you some warmth and get back some cooler weather, I'd be quite grateful! ~Angela~

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    1. I take any warm weather I can get, and a bit of sunshine too, please. Oh, and you can have all the rain we had Tuesday, 24 hours of rain, and only 10-12 degrees C during the day, hail storm in the evening and 4 degrees C when I went to bed, how about that?!
      I am amazed my plants actually develop at all, but they do, just very slowly.
      Other parts of England has been far worse, large parts of south west woke up to snow yesterday morning, in middle of May!! Well, global warming has certainly made for some strange occurrences the last couple of years in my part of the world.

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  19. Great tour! I am very jealous of your Arisaema, I tried growing our native Arisaema trifolium but it did not thrive, always succumbing to rust. How wonderful to having them naturalize like that! I also love the Disporopsis.

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    1. Thanks, I love the arisaema too, it's a great plant, and I would love to have a couple of other varieties too. I started out with just one plant, growing in a tub, but eventually it grew out of space. When I emptied the tub I counted 72 bulbs, from large to tiny. I just scattered them in small groups when I made my woodland area in 2011 and they seem to do even better here than in that tub. Maybe I have been lucky with the variety, but I have never seen any pest, disease or damage to any of them, in all the 9 years since I got my first :-)

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  20. Hi Helene
    What a post! Great! I love the Name Lily of the Valley, we call them Maierisli :o). Wildeve is growing in my garden too since last year, but it's still small. What a story about your hip, the rose and the acer. I guess we gardeners would save our plants before ourself :o) and sometimes it is good, that we're not asked what we want. So that's the reason why you have problems to walk. Take care and I hope you get fully recovered soon, so that you can enjoy your wonderful garden completely.
    xxx
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex,
      In Norwegian, Lily of the Valley is called Lilje konvall, from the words lily and convallaria, the Latin name for the plant :-)

      Thanks for your concern about me, I was born with a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disease that affects all my joints, muscles, my digestion, and a lot of other things. In addition I have a long list of other conditions that affects my quality of life, and this has affected my life since childhood although I lived a reasonably normal life until the age of 30. The last 18 years I have been medically retired and my health has declined rapidly. I won’t recover or get better, all the operations and procedures I have been through (14 the last 10 years) has just been an attempt to slow down the decline – not very successfully though.

      My garden gives me great pleasures and is the most important room in my house. I am planning to write a post about how to garden when you are not as young or physically well as you used to be. It is a constant challenge to me, and I have aids I use in my garden to help me that might be interesting to other people to see. So, a post for a rainy day :-)
      Take care, Helene.

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    2. Hi Helene
      I didn't know anything about Ehler-Danlos Syndrome and had first to Google it. My dear, there you really have a burden to carry. I'm even more stunned how you manage your lovely garden. And I can well understand that it helps to be in the middle of flowers and to grab with your hands in the dirt :o). The post you plan to write is important, I guess you will give hope to a lot of people. Carry on!
      Take care
      Alex xxx
      and give your lovely cat a big cuddle :o)

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    3. Hi again Alex,
      Thanks for your kind words, and for looking up my condition, not many people have ever heard about it, it is a rare condition and I often meet doctors that don't know much about it at all.

      Have a great week-end, and my cat says thanks for the cuddle :-)

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  21. What a fabulous post Helene and thank you for mentioning GreenPlantSwap.
    And what a 'shining example' of a Grower page you have created there too. Your plant descriptions and pictures so bring the listings to life. We certainly hope others will follow suit. For those that like the Disporopsis, and more, you'll find them there ~ Jeremy

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    1. You are very welcome Jeremy, let’s hope new members are streaming to your website in huge numbers :-)

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  22. It is amazing the number of beautiful a and healthy plants you have in your small garden. I especially like the color of that last dicentra. We are having a long cool spring and I am loving it. But we haven't had wind or too much rain, just the right amount.

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    1. Thanks Carolyn, I have just bought a white Dicentra too, waiting for the delivery, that will complete my Dicentra collection I think, although I would have liked to have many more - but where to put them? I need a much bigger garden :-)

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  23. Thoroughly enjoyable read Helene, although you have my sympathy with your hip problems. I hope the brace will ease the pain and allow you to get about a bit more.
    Your Disporopsis is lovely - you recommended it to me in a previous post of mine. I keep forgetting to pick it up when I'm at the nursery!! Too many plants not enough cash ;)
    I'm doubtful my Camellias will flower this year the buds are not fattening up therefore, I suspect they are just new leaves. My Magnolia was like yours - no flowers just leaves too. What a disappointing Magnolia year we have both had. Always next your right!
    You are still a good bit ahead of us up here.
    I like your Lamium - I've just bought a new on Called Lamium Orvala also a non spreader!
    I fear I could ramble on as you have so many beautiful plants but I'll call a halt now!! I will be back to follow that link later, when I have more time. It sounds interesting!!
    Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Angie, I’m going back to the hospital on Monday, I hope the brace will be ready for me then so we’ll see if it gives enough support for me to relax a bit, I have to be soooo careful now so I don’t dislocate my hip again, the brace should make me more stable, well, in theory.

      Camellia flowers starts to form before the spent flowers are gone, so next year’s flowers on my camellia are already formed behind the flower petals that now are drizzling off, and they do take a whole year to develop. Sure you haven’t got flower buds after all? If they have been there since last spring they are probably buds. The buds can sometimes dry up and fall off if the camellia has not had enough water or if it has been too cold wind during the winter, if that happens there is nothing you can do, just hope next year will be better. Just be patient, you might still get flowers, this has been a weird spring after all!

      As for the magnolia, yes I did have some expectations of flowers as I was promised some on the large one by the nursery, but if I don’t get any next year I will be mega disappointed!

      And, yes check out the plant swap website, there are two members in Scotland already, but we need many members for this to work, there are only 5 members within a 12 miles radius from me, and between those 5 members they have only ONE plant listed for sale/swap so far. Being in London doesn’t seem to be an advantage here, but it is very early days, spread the word :-)
      Happy GBBD, take care.

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  24. One of the great things about blogs, you can always revisit past years and check what the conditions really were. Sometimes I'm surprised at how different my memory is from the reality :) Have I mentioned how much I love your thermometer? Love the texture and weight of it. Functional and beautiful.

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    1. That's funny, other people have mentioned my thermometer in previous posts too! I bought it on Amazon earlier this year, it was advertised as 'Metal Filigree Thermometer', but it is just a simple die cast metal and it currently cost only £8.97. It is quite big, 42 cm (17”), I should probably take a photo of the whole thing in a future post. Yes, it’s quite decorative, the only thing I don’t like about it, and that I wasn’t really aware of before receiving it was the distressed paintwork, as the description said “coated in a high gloss black paint making it durable for outside use.” ...Oh well, the joys of Internet shopping :-)

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  25. Wonderful tour of your garden, you have so many plants! It must have been heartbreaking to have your plants cut down by the ambulance people, but at least it was for an important reason. Glad to hear you and the plants are on the mend.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, I am enjoying my garden, even though the weather hasn't really caught up with the calendar yet!

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  26. Wow! this article was a treat to the eyes. I don't know which I would say lovely or my favorite as I was mesmerized by all of them. Beautiful pictures and presentation. My garden is also full of lily of the valley and dicentra about which I posted in my blog. I will be looking forward to many such trips.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this month's GBBD report :-)

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  27. Hi Helene, I actually enjoyed just admiring the variety of foliage you have. For some reason I like strap-leaved foliage and you have quite a bit, I just think it has a nice semi-structural look. Still in France until tomorrow and they also have the same unpredictable weather all over the country. There were tv pictures of some poor person with their tulips poking through some snow! Wondering what I will find when I get home tomorrow, my husband has been supervising things and has done his own slug patrol.

    Joined the plant swap website, it's a good idea as I do have some too much stuff and have been trying to foist some things off onto friends.

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    1. Don't worry Claire, no snow in London this week, phew! Just an all mighty local hail storm, but no damage in my garden at least. I think you will find not much has happened in your garden when you have been away, it has been very cold.

      Great you are joining the plant swap website, you will probably be the closest grower to me then!

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    2. Back to find it's all a bit greener and bushier, lots of things in bud but no new flowers. Annuals left outside on the patio still alive, thank goodness! Small army of greenfly at large. Signs that new Nemaslug system not working....

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    3. I have heard that the Nemaslug isn't as effective as for example Nematodes. As for greenflies, I use Pireco's repellent from Bakker, best thing ever and completely ecological, just fermented soy beans and herbs. Stinks like hell, don't mix it indoors, I did that the first time, it lingers for days! But it works for 4-5 weeks, great stuff.
      http://www.bakker.co.uk/product/pireco-greenfly-whitefly-and-red-spider-mite-repellent-100-ml.

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  28. It has been an odd year for weather, all-around, I guess. Here in Portland, we had several weeks of 80°+ temps...summer weather in April! I was beginning to worry we'd never get rain again! Even with the cool spring, your garden looks lovely...and I feel your pain about dying bulb foliage...some years it doesn't bother me...and other years, it drives me crazy!

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    1. I know you have had some weeks of great weather over there, made you catch up on the late spring-start we both had. Unfortunately we didn’t get a similar warm period over here, so we are still just very late, and there is no end in sight. A slight increase in temperature towards the end of next week, but not exactly summer temperature, only so I might ditch my heavy gardening cardigan when I am outside :-)

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  29. Thank you for taking me to your garden, Hellen. Your garden is gorgeous!! You have a lot kinds of plants, and thinking of adding roses to the garden... I'm thrilled!!! Thank you for your comment on my blog. I'll get lemon thyme this year:) I've never used it in a dishes, but I'll try:)Have a good weekend!

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    1. Hi Keity, if you are thinking of adding roses to your balcony garden, I think you would do well with some of the smaller David Austin roses. They can grow in containers and many of them are beautifully scented. I grow 'Scepter'd Isle' in a container, it has a fantastic scent!

      Lemon thyme is a very versatile herb, as I wrote to you I use it in many types of dishes, but I think most people use it in pasta/noodle dishes, meat dishes and anything with eggs.
      Have a good week-end you too!

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  30. Helene - I thought that nothing could beat my bleeding hearts, but your red ones are the best. I really enjoyed your garden tour.

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    1. Thanks, I have seen lots of different shades of pink and purple dicentras but when I found the red one I just had to have it, it is just as gorgeous as in my photos!

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  31. I think there's been weird weather all over the world! I love the carpet of pink petals under your camellia. I think it's beautiful. :o) I have issues with succession planting, too. I can't stand all the dying foliage of bulbs and have to find ways of tucking it out of sight so the other plants can grow. Tulip foliage has killed my perennials in the past by covering them so they don't grow. I now grow all my tulips in pots and treat them as annuals. As soon as they're done blooming, I pull them out.

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    1. I only have two small areas with Fosteriana tulips left in the beds, they come again and have been allowed to stay, from now on I will do only containers with tulips too, and like you, chuck them out as soon as they are finished. I usually put a pot with something flowering on top of the container for the rest of the summer, I always have lots of pots waiting in the wings :-)

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  32. So much to see in your garden Helene. I like the Disporopsis pernyi and wonder if I can find it here. I have never seen Arisarum proboscideum or 'Mouse Plant' before. What interesting blooms! The red flowering bleeding hearts, camellia, Viburnum 'Eskimo' and are so pretty too.

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    1. None of these plants are native to Britain so I can't see any reason why you can't get them in Canada. Do you buy plants online? Do a search and you might find much more than your local nursey stocks. Good luck!

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  33. I enjoyed the tour of your beautiful garden, Elaine. I love the sea of alliums bed! Thanks for letting us know about the Green Plant Swap site. I'll be sure to visit there. All the best! :-)

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    1. Thanks Beth, the sea of alliums is slowly beginning to form, half of them are flowering now :-)

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  34. Late or not, I love your spring garden! I hope you guys in the UK get a nice long summer now to make up for the strange start to the year. Thanks for the tour, I love seeing your garden wake up for the season!

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    1. Thanks, I hope we get a nice long summer too, we didn't have one last summer, it just rained away, and the last 3-4 years before hasn't exactly been smashing summers either. We are long overdue a proper, nice long summer :-)

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  35. Helene, you pack so many wonderful plants into your garden (bit like me, squash as many in as you can, lol), I especially like the delicate little flowers on your Lamium. I have a couple in my garden, some flowered early, but I'm still waiting for others. Your Camelia is gorgeous too!

    What a terrible time you must have had, dislocating your hip like that. I think your proposed post on some of the tools you use to help you in the garden sounds really useful. My step-dad has knee problems and can no longer bend down to garden, I'm sure he'd find it interesting too :-)

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    1. Thanks Paula, I always say I stack my plants like sardines, sideways and on top of each other :-)

      My post about gardening when having mobility issues is coming soon, definitely this week!

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